Sahyōe no suke sadafumi uta’awase

Shinpen kokka taikan no.8
Heian-chō uta’awase taisei no.16
Romanised TitleSahyōe no suke sadafumi uta’awase
Translated TitlePoetry Contest held by Sadafumi, Assistant Captain of the Outer Palace Guards, Left Division
Alternative Title(s)Sahyōe no suke sadafumi ason uta’awase 左兵衛佐定文朝臣歌合 (‘Poetry Contest held by Lord Sadafumi, Assistant Captain of the Outer Palace Guards, Left Division’); Uhyōe no shōjō sadafumi uta’awase 右兵衛少尉貞文歌合 (‘Poetry Contest held by Sadafumi, Junior Lieutenant of the Outer Palace Guards, Right Division’); Hyōe no suke sadafun ga ie no uta’awase 兵衛佐さだふんが家の歌合 (‘Poetry Contest held at the House of Sadafun, Assistant Captain of the Outer Palace Guards’); Taira no Sadafun taku uta’awase 平定文宅歌合 (‘Poetry Contest at Taira no Sadafun’s Residence’); Taira no sadafun no ie uta’awase 平定(貞)文家歌合 (‘Poetry Contest at Taira no Sadafun’s House’); Sadafun no ie uta’awase 定文家歌合 (‘Poetry Contest at Sadafun’s House’); Sadafun uta’awase 定(貞)文歌合 (‘Sadafun’s Poetry Contest’); Hei chūjō uta’awase 平中将歌合 (‘Poetry Contest held by the Taira Middle Captain’)
Date28/4 Engi 5 [3.6.905]
Extant Poems38
SponsorTaira no Sadafun 平定文
Identifiable ParticipantsMibu no Tadamine 壬生忠岑; Ariwara no Motokata 在原元方; Taira no Sadafun 平定文; Sakanoue no Korenori 坂上是則; Ki no Tsurayuki 紀貫之; Ōshikōchi no Mitsune 凡河内躬恒
Topicsthe beginning of spring (shushun 首春); the middle of spring (chūshun 仲春); the end of spring (boshun 暮春); the beginning of summer (shuka 首夏); the end of summer (banka 晩夏); the beginning of autumn (shoshū 初秋); the middle of autumn (chūshu 仲秋); the end of autumn (boshū 暮秋); the end of winter (bantō 晩冬); love without meeting (awanu koi 不会恋); love on meeting (au koi 会恋)

Many of the poems from this contest are included in various imperial, and other, anthologies, as well as other uta’awase, but it is only from the third imperial anthology, Shūishū 拾遺集, which was completed between 1005-11, that headnotes begin to mention the contest, while in earlier anthologies other contexts of composition are described. This has led to some suggestions that the contest is partially a senka awase including poems which the participants had composed prior to the contest itself.

Given the proposed date for the contest, the title would seem to have been assigned later, as Sadafun was not appointed Assistant Captain in the Outer Palace Guards, Left Division (sahyōe no suke 左兵衛佐) until the 28th day of the First Month, Engi 19 [3.3.919], fourteen years after it is believed to have taken place. The alternate title including ‘Lord’ (ason 朝臣) is also suspect, as Sadafun’s highest rank was Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade, and ason was only used for individuals of the Fourth Rank and above.

See below for a listing of the contest’s poems, with the other collections in which these poems appear.

1SIS 120Kanpyō ōntoki chūgū uta’awase 28
2SIS 821
3SIS 4322GSS 1012/13; KKRJ 2538
5KKS II: 13024
6KKS II: 13225SIS 988; KKRJ 1924
7KYS 17226SIS 629; KKRJ 2531
8KKRJ 7727
928KKRJ 3019
10SIS 11629
11KKRJ 64330KKRJ 1658
12KKS IV: 17931Shokukokinshū 1227/1235 (minor variant)
13Shinshūishū 163332Shokukokinshū 1173/1181
14KKRJ 16933KKRJ 2106
15Shokugosenshū 429/421; Mandaishū 1222; Kanpyō ōntoki chūgū uta’awase 13; Yōzei-in ichi no miko himegimitachi uta’awase 934Shokusenzaishū 1537/1540
1635KKRJ 1657 (minor variant)
17KKRJ 71136
18KKS VI: 325; KKRJ 229 (and 15 other collections)37

It is apparent from the above table that Shūishū was the imperial anthology which drew most heavily on this competition, with the mammoth Kokin waka rokujō 古今和歌六帖, compiled at some point between 970-984, also includes its poems.

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